Children in Dharnai Village in India

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India: Clean energy growth outpaces targets

For the second year in a row, India’s clean energy sector has surpassed its new capacity targets, according to reports in the Indian press.

The government was aiming for an additional 4,460MW in 2015, but in the end reached almost 7000MW, although a bit of that was biomass and hydro.

But mostly it was wind and solar, which together represented around 1/3 of India’s overall energy additions last year.

The data comes just days after an Indian energy minister said solar is now cheaper than coal, and another politician called for a coal tax in the west to fund clean energy projects in developing nations, Climate Home reports.

Europe: Climate policies dropped after BP threat

A few years ago the EU was exploring a number of environmental policies, including introducing new oil regulations, more stringent power plant pollution limits and a plan to accelerate renewable energy uptake.

But, according to a report from The Guardian, it abandoned and watered down these proposals soon after receiving a letter from BP which repeatedly threatened an oil industry ‘exodus’.

Meanwhile Germany and Belgium are having a bit of an argument over whether Belgium should temporarily switch off its two nuclear reactors amidst safety fears,reports the BBC.

And finally: The day before 160 countries are expected to sign the landmark UN climate agreement, it looks as though US and China will succeed in their attempts to get the deal up and running early, reports the AP.

But, despite positive moves by the Obama administration, a number of countries fear ‘sabotage’ from the US, kind of like the legal issues surrounding the Clean Power Plan,reports Reuters.

US: Bipartisan energy bill passes the Senate

It’s not often both sides of the aisle agree on something in Washington.

But Republicans and Democrats in the Senate came together yesterday to pass a bill that will modernise the US power grid, faciliate natural gas exports, scrap some regulations and encourage energy efficiencies, reports The Hill.

The vote was 85-12, with all the opponents Republican.

The New York Times editorial board does not like this bill either, arguing in particular that its assumption that biomass is ‘carbon neutral’ could actually accelerate climate change.

And here’s a funny thing : A Bloomberg analysis has found Republican politicians backing renewable energy efforts across the country, pretty much so long as they’re not for climate reasons.

In other news

China: Energy intensity in almost all of China’s provinces fell last year.

Media: The Times’ climate coverage has been criticised by leading scientists.

UK: British Gas is set to lay off another 680 employees.

Oil: The BP oil spill was even worse than previously thought, says new research.